Financial Times London

Review

March 23, 2006

Trockadero Ballets Peacock Theatre, London
By Clement Crisp

Published: March 23 2006

When far too many leading dancers come on stage with all the vivacity and allure of pink sugar mice - why do they perform if they do not want us to see them? - a cheer-laden welcome for the chaps of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, back in London after a five- year absence. These ballerinas flame with temperament, blatant maquillage, saucy looks and the odd (very odd) moment of chest hair sprouting above the white satin of a bodice. Camp as the world's store of bell-tents, some of them with legs borrowed from Jacobean chairs, they dance, cutting their laser way through the most venerated selections from the classic repertory. Their inspiration is the Ballets Russes companies of the 1930s and 1940s where those divinities Alexandra Danilova and Alicia Markova reigned, and the Kirov and Bolshoi marvels of more recent times, and - all honour to them - they know the real steps and the proper style far better than some soloists who today trip anonymously through those pieces. I love them. I love Ida Nevesayneva as her swan dies of galloping moult. I love this cast of Le Grand Pas de Quatre, riven with smiling jealousies, as I once loved Markova and Danilova and Riabouchinska and Schanne and Fracci and Slavenska. (And Chase Johnsey's Grahn has a beautifully light jump.) I loved the downfall of Swan Lake Act 2, thanks to the astonishing Larissa Dumbchenko, and the stunned-mullet manner of Pavel Tord. There is also the Grand Pas from Paquita with almost all its steps intact, a nice appreciation of its style, and the unshakable Olga Supphozova in the fouetté- ridden lead. The show is for balletomanes, who will admire the musicality of the performers and their huge understanding and respect for the dance itself, and for balletophobes, who will discover even more than they suspected about poof's football.